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What makes a good manager?

Posted by
06 Aug 2015
As part of an interview candidates are often asked for their opinions on management, whether the role will include managing a team or not. Questions often asked in interviews include: what do you like and dislike about your current manager? What is your personal management style? What management style motivates you best? How would you describe your manager? What would your team say are your best traits as a manager? Give us an example of a bad manager you've come across during your career… and so on.

Being a manager is not an easy career choice. Often, managers are employees who have excelled in their field of expertise. Strong accountants become finance managers; excellent recruiters set up new offices, expert sales advisors become sales managers. Does being great at what you do necessarily mean you will make a great manager? Often employees making the step to management get little training or guidance, and rely on their personality traits and a little bit of trial and error for the day to day management of their new team. This becomes even more challenging when you're promoted to manage a team that you used to be a part of. It's difficult to bridge the gap between colleague and boss, and it's easy to fall into the trap of remaining too familiar.

I recently read a great article by Liz Ryan who talks about the common mistakes that managers make, particularly in relation to being too familiar with the team they manage.

The top five things to never tell your employees include;

1.    Your frustrations with another team member
2.    Your personal financial triumphs or complaints
3.    Your frustrations with your own boss or senior management
4.    Your plans to leave for a new career move
5.    'Gossip' from senior management meetings.

I often think it is easier to list things that all managers should never do, rather than qualities all managers should have. Personality and individuality is part of what makes different managers great, and there definitely isn't a one size fits all approach, which is often why training and support for employees transitioning into management is so rare.

What are your experiences of progressing into a management position? Have you ever been in a position where a colleague has been promoted to become your boss? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 
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